From: Kay Bromert
IES is officially underway here in San Antonio, and I'm sorry that all of you SAI's can't be here. It is shaping up to be a wonderful week of education. I'll give you as much information as I can as we go along through the week, but as I mentioned before, I'm in the Arrangers' track, so some of those classes may not be of interest to everyone. However, I'm happy to share what I can, and remember, this is all just my humble opinion.
We arrived at various times today, of course. Those who flew in were able to take a shuttle (several large buses, actually) from the airport to the campus of Trinity University, where IES is taking place. We checked in, which was handled very efficiently by a combination of University people and SAI Headquarters staff people. We are staying in dorms, so this isn't exactly the Hilton, but it's clean and very spacious, which I guess you would expect when you figure that two students live here for the entire school year. I was able to set up my laptop right by the phone jack, though I'm locking it up when I am away from the dorm. My roommate is Muriel Berg from Florida, who is also an Approved Arranger. I believe all the Approved Arrangers are on this floor of our dorm.
Tonight was the opening session. Kathy Carmody, our International President, welcomed the 1400+ of us who are here (hooray - they were hoping for at least 600!). There were various introductions, and we paused for a moment of silence to send our energy up to the bouncy little redhead, Carolyn Butler, who unfortunately was taken from us at much too young an age, just prior to Anaheim. I'm sure Carolyn was up there smiling in approval, as she and Bill are undoubtedly co-directing the heavenly choir! Kathy directed us in Blue Skies, one of 5 pieces of music that we were sent prior to coming to IES. The International Board was introduced as a group, and then Betty Clipman, Chair, Education Direction Committee, directed us in song number 2, Just One Of Those Things. She told us that there are currently 12 contestants for the first Rising Star contest to be held Fri evening here at the Symposium. The Society, as many or most of you know, has had a very successful college quartet contest at International for a number of years, and we were hoping that 3 or 4 groups might be interested in coming to compete. There are 3 quartets from England! Following Betty, Pat LeVezu, Chair, IES Planning Committee, introduced our guest faculty members for the week. Geri Geis, who among her many other accolades works as artistic director/choreographer for the Alexandria Harmonizers, 3-time SPEBSQSA International Champions, will be teaching several classes on choreography and the visual plan. Charlie Metzger, who is also an active SPEBSQSA member, and has been a faculty member for many Society Harmony College, Directors College, and COTS events, will be teaching a class called "How To Teach What You Know". Both of these folks will have a wealth of information to share with everyone. David Wright was also scheduled to teach this week, but wife Sandy's father died very unexpectedly (my condolences to your family), so neither of them are able to attend. David was to teach a series of classes on the History of Barbershop. Wouldn't that have been a wonderful time? But perhaps another year.....The rest of the faculty for the week, SAI members, was also introduced as a group. Pat LeVezu then directed us in song number 3, Tuxedo Junction. She introduced Lorraine Barrows, Director of Education at International Headquarters. Lorraine has been instrumental in coordinating the planning and execution of this whole event, and she introduced the 20 members of headquarters staff people who are here this week, helping to make sure everything runs smoothly.
We were then treated to two songs from Rumors, 1999 SAI Queens of Harmony. They came up in pink long dresses, wearing their crowns and medals proudly....all of them, that is, except baritone Dale Syverson, who was wearing slacks and a chambray big shirt (that's a style for anyone who thinks I mean it was a shirt and it was big!). She said it was because the other 3 were late! They opened with You're One Step From Dixieland, which was wonderful, and then they treated us to I Can Dream, Can't I. It was a tenor solo, and what a lovely, clear, soaring tenor voice! I apologize because I don't remember her name, but we were all mesmorized as we listened to this gorgeous arrangement.
Following this, we were excused to go our various ways. Those who are singing in the Symposium Choruses went to rehearsals, the Young Women in Harmony choruses had rehearsals, and the rest of us were free to attend the Meet and Greet session in the dining hall. We sang tags and familiar songs under the always funny leadership of Chris Noteware, one of our very best and most entertaining directors. My roommate and I and Linda Masterson, another Approved Arranger, went to the Coates University Center snack bar, which is staying open extra hours just to accommodate us, for ice cream or yogurt. Yum! We chatted and enjoyed meeting and greeting folks that we haven't seen for a long time. And with that, it's time for bed, because classes start at 8:15 tomorrow morning.
I hope this is a little information that some of you will enjoy. I will try to post something each evening that we are here.